Monthly Archives: March 2014

Cranky Cob

Hi Doods   Had a great morning at Restharrow Scrape today. Most of the teal have left and only a few gadwalls, shovelers and mallards are still remaining, But the gorgeous garganey drake is still lurking in the reeds beneath the sparrow hawk willow.  The most excitement was when a mute swan cob took exception to a poor lonely greylag who deigned to land on his scrape. I enclose a couple of smudges of the cob ‘seeing him/her off’. The other highlight was the whizzing of two redshanks.  They couldn’t make up their minds and flew from bank to bank, intermittently stopping on the submerged pallet of the island closest to the hide. I’ve enclosed Barnaby Rudge of the redshank as well. Incidentally, the redshank looks like he’s leapfrogging the gadwalls and lapwing as it took off from the pallet!  From the hide I visited the SBBOT field centre with Duncan for a nice cup of Charlotte Joffe.  as always with kindest rhubarbs   x  i jah de Q

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Marsh Harrier harassment

Whoooah Peeps   Was feeling a little delicato this morning as I drove along the prom with an independent air, but no girls to declare “he’s a millionaire’  unfortunately. Last night I had a most copacetic dinner with dear friends Joe & Brian at the marvellous Dining Club in Middle Street, Deal. Brian, who’s a bit of an aficiano on the violaceous vine, had brought along a couple of superlative bottles (as well as  sham poodles) so present company ‘gave it plenty’!  Except for Lady Q who’s happy with a glass of Perrier. It was with trepidation that I traversed the Ancient Crovis, avoiding the sinkholes and tadpoles that lurked as I Wendy’d my way to Restharrow Scrape.  Had an interesting discussion with photographer Steve Ray about the Lesser Black-Backed Gull we’d both Barnaby Rudged the day before on the scrape. Ian (the warden) fancies it as a fuscus, a Balkan gull.  The light was really good this morning and smudging was helped by a marsh harrier shifting all the lady lucks out of the reeds and onto the water. The garganey drake is still residing on the scrape, and he shifted along with the teal. A little egret also flew from one side of the scrape to the other so I was able to capture it as the little white heron whizzed over the hide. Incidentally, I think the Marsh Harrier might have damaged one of her wings? There seems to be a gap between the primaries and secondaries. I’ll post 2 smudges of the harrier in flight. She didn’t come too close for closer inspection as I managed my shots when she flew over the Elms being harassed by a lapwing. I know I’ve also posted quite a few shots of the Radio Rental shelducks, who fly over peacefully, then have a ruck as soon as they hit de l’eau, but I liked this formation. It’s reminiscent of a British World War 2 B movie, with Winco, Duggy Bader patrolling in his spitfire and giving it “Bandits at One Five”

bye bye     x i jah de Q

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Black Backed Bandits

Yo Peeplers  It was such a beautiful morning I couldn’t face doing the Sholden shuffle, so I chanced the Ancient Crovis. It was a joy to once again traverse the Walmer and Deal seafronts heading towards Sandwich.  Strangely, despite the superb light (for smudgers) there was a strong sea mist that obscured the Ramsgate cliffs. Avoiding the tadpoles past the Chequer’s was a nightmare, but old Ruby did me proud.  Bit of a moment at Dixon’s Corner, but Kaibosh and Yours T made it safely to Restharrow Hide. Incidentally, it was as well we came the AH route as at the Elms the conservationists were felling a large obstructing tree so had blocked the road up.  The handsome garganey drake is still residing beneath the sparrow hawk willow but doesn’t seem to budge much. I think he must eat when all the Billy Bunter’s have left the hide? I was rewarded this morning by the arrival of a few Black-Backed gulls. One Great and a few Lessers. I enclose smudges for your delectation.  I was also pleased to get a shot of a pair of Shelducks as they arrived low over the water. Hasta la pistachio nuts    x i jah de Q

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Oy Vey, Spring is here!

Yo Doods  Well Spring is certainly here judging by the behaviour of the oystercatchers. They were getting very saucy on the submerged pallet of the front island. I wonder where they’re going to nest? last year the water was much lower and they nested successfully on the island. Unfortunately, the lapwing babies conceived on the island were predated by the nasty old coots (why?) I enclose a smudge of the coots once again having a bundle amongst themselves, as well as the saucy oystercatchers. It was great that the old current was out again after a couple of days of iffy weather. Not that I’m complaining having got smudges of the garganey and spoonbill at Restharrow Scrape. Again I was delighted to get shots of the mallarooney Sir Francis whizzing about, chasing the girlies, so I’m enclosing a piccalilli of Frankie whizzing. The garganey was sleeping beneath the sparrow hawk tree, but neither Duncan and myself could get a reasonable shot of that handsome drake, and the lady sparrow hawk wasn’t about to oblige by shifting the lady lucks.  Hasta la Madagaster machachas            x i jah de Q

PS     Would you Adam & Trevor it,  Bernie counted 13 little grebes on the scrape this morning!

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Sparrowhawk Scramble, Raptor Rumble

Yo Peeps  It was a bit Harry & Billy when I left Quack Towers this morning, so it’s back on with the thermal ‘go west young man’. Still, ever optimistic, I’m looking forward to fair weather come the weekend. I picked up  Joe on my way to Restharrow Hide, which delighted Kaibosh who dived from the backseat over the top of Joe and landed on his lap.  Tom Daley couldn’t have done better. Mind you, my Kaiboy’s a gold boy not bronze!  Arriving at the hide we looked out hoping to see the garganey drake. I thought I spotted it beneath the sparrow hawk tree. Well, would you Adam & Greensleeve it, across the water swept the low flying sparrow hawk sending all the lady lucks into the centre of the scrape.  Lo and be told, there was the handsome garganey drake flushed out of the reeds by the saucy lady sparrow hawk. Fortunately I managed a smudge of the raptor as she flew into the reeds at the foot of the willow tree, which I enclose for your delectation. After the excitement of the sparrow hawk kerfuffle, Joe and Yours T carried on to Bomber Command (SBBOT) for a cup of Charlotte Joffe. For anyone visiting the field centre, there’s a treat in store as there is an exhibition of beautiful photographs taken by Sue North. Well worth a visit. We then went on to the Black Douglas for Rosy Lee and vittles, which is cool because cherry hogs are allowed on the premises.    Hasta la pasta machachas     x i jah de Q      PS  I’m also enclosing a smudge of a Monty Don having a good stretch

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What a gay garganey day

Yo Peeps   Had an enjoyable morning at Restharrow Scrape despite dearth of duck. The number of lady lucks are whittling down, but I knew a garganey drake was lurking. Sure enough, Bernie spotted him beneath the sparrow hawk tree. We had been looking for snipe and Bernie had used his scope to see if we had missed any snipe hiding amongst the reeds (which they do brilliantly) Suddenly, where we had thought a pair of teal slept amongst the reeds, the drake lifted his head and revealed himself as a gorgeous garganey. Better still he flew across the scrape and settled in the water close to the hide. It only goes to show that it’s always worth a wait as something good can turn up. Bernie and I were rapidly shooting like two rifleman at the Battle of the Somme! Many a time a birder (usually a smudger) has come into the hide, looked around the scrape and muttered under his breath something about ‘watching paint dry’!  Silly Billies, even the commonest and abundant of wuzzoes are a delight. Take the mallard, common as muck, but what pulchritudinous anatidae those little darlings are. If the sun’s out I always try to get a smudge of the light hitting the iridescent Gregory Peck of the Sir Francis. In fact, one of my favourite Richard the Third’s is the mallard duck.  I’ve seen a mallard duck sort out a cob mute who had come too close to her babies! Close up, their markings are a joy to behold. I’ll enclose a smudge of a drake mallard I took when the current put his hat on during the last few days of sunshine. And of course a Barnaby Rudge of the garganey flying across the scrape and swimming in front of the hide.  T T F N      x i jah de Q

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Spoonbill

Yo to all the young dudes     Would you Adam & Trevor Eve it, I wished for an exotic on yesterday’s Phileus Fogg, when this morning as Duncan and Yours T arrived at the scrape, Alistair, who sat oggle scoping out of a hide window, pointed out that a spoonbill was flying over the scrape.  Duncan and Y’s T feverishly swung our lenses out of the hide windows and up into the bright blue sky. At first I thought it was a Little Egret, but sure enough it was a spoonbill on its way to Pegwell Bay (or thereabouts?) Nearly as good as a golden eagle (yesterday’s wish, but I’ll have to wait until Lady Q, cherry and I go to the Isle of Arran) It was a strange morning as only a little earlier I had been scraping the loaded dice off my kipper’s windscreen and now it was a clear blue apple pie! The morning got better when 2 mutes flew towards us and swept the last minute up and over the hide. For one moment I thought the large cob was going to join us in the hide!  A little while later a small flock of shelducks flew gracefully in and then started their usual bad tempered punch-up. They’re nearly as bad as the meshuguna coots. Anyways doods, here’s four Barnaby Rudge’s of the aforementioned wuzzoes    tooty patooty   x i jah de Q

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